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Paul J. Bucknell
Genesis 13 setting | Step #1 Observe | God's Protection | Application | Step #2 Utilize | Hebrew | Abram's Decison | God's Love | #3 Secure -1 | Secret Prayer 2-3 | King Melchizedek 14:18-20 | Spiritual Picture | Melchizedek in Bible | Closing Application
God gives insight into three specific steps to growing our faith in Genesis 14. Genesis 14:1-10 Observe God’s Blessing Genesis 14:1-10 is the first step that highlights the two purposes for this mysteriously fact-driven passage.
A proper understanding of God’s blessings strengthens our relationship with God.
14:1 And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled.
5 And in the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness.
7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar--four kings against five. 10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country" (Genesis 14:1-10) NASB.
The great amount of detail about names we have never heard and never will hear about in the early section of Genesis 14 certainly can baffle us. Why spend ten verses making specific comments about these invaders from the north when it could have been summed up in one verse.
“Four kings from the north invaded and recaptured Sodom, Gomorrah and other cities along with Lot ....” He then could have continued on with verse 11.
There are two evident reasons for the specificity.
The further we go back into history, the accuracy of the stories, reports, etc. are seen as unreliable. Chinese history merges into myth. Egyptian history is completely self-embellishing. The kings of historicity like to write in a fashion that promotes their name and accomplishments.
As a whole they are not interested in the accuracy of reports, like a historian might be today, but use these rare reports to polish their own image. At times they were engraved on stones or columns to create a real sense of permanence.
These details of country, city-states, personal names and other things found in Genesis 14 and elsewhere in Genesis 10 prove that the author was not only very aware of the circumstances of that time, but that accuracy was important to him.
When an author pays special attention to the facts, such as reporting that in the 13th year the city-states of the south overthrew King Chedorlaomer’s dominion over them, then we can be quite assured that the other information is also accurately reported. If the Bible is not reliable, then how can it describe how God trains His people?
Over the years unbelievers have viciously attacked the Bible by stating places and people such as these mentioned never existed. Year by year their spurious attacks are proven wrong. People were doubting David’s existence (though he has penned many a psalm) until they found his name on some ancient artifact.
Or better yet, for a little bit more get the Old Testament Library which has this book along with powerpoints, videos and hundreds of other articles, all presented with understanding and applying God's Word to our lives. Great deal!
Unless you are a history buff, these things probably mean nothing to you. These kings’ names and battles, however, are significant in the way that they give us confidence that this is not just a made up story, but genuine historical events.
If these things really happened, then we can be sure the others things about Abraham also happened in at some historical point of time back around 2000 BC and that God is teaching us through them.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988